Fact CheckSecurity

Does the viral WhatsApp message claiming that our media devices and social media applications are being monitored in Ghana have any truth to it?

Claim: A new communications regulation has been implemented to record phone calls and monitor social media applications use.

False. The viral message making the rounds in Ghana is old with indications that it originated in another country. 

Full Text:

WhatsApp users have been warned of an impending monitoring exercise of various social media platforms and media devices. According to the message making rounds on WhatsApp, a new communications regulation has been implemented as of ‘today’ with focus on recording phone calls, and monitoring all social media applications like WhatsApp, Twitter,  and Facebook. Portions of the text reads,

“Your devices are connected to ministry systems. Take care not to send unnecessary messages. Inform your children, relatives and friends about this to take care. ​​Don’t forward any posts or videos etc., you receive  regarding politics/present situation about Government/PM etc.​​ Police have put out a notification termed ..Cyber Crime … and action will be taken…just don’t delete …Inform your friends & others too. Writing or forwarding any msg on any political & religious debate is an offence now….arrest without warrant…This is very serious, plz let it be known to all our groups and individual members as group admin can be in deep trouble. Take care not to send unnecessary messages.Inform everyone about this to take care. Please share it; it’s very much true. Groups please be careful.”

The message has also been shared on Facebook and other social media applications.


Dubawa ran a google search using the contents of the message and discovered that this same message has, over some months now, been circulated on WhatsApp repeatedly and in various countries. The message has been translated and published in various languages but has the same content, that our telephones and social media are being monitored by the government.

What has been done on the viral message so far?

In March 2020, a fact check was done by thelogicalindian.com which revealed that the claim was false.

The Wire has also published a fact check on this same message, declaring it false on April 7th, 2020.

Source: thewire

Dailyhunt also published a report on this same content and with the same findings, FAKE.

PIB fact-check also also came out with the same conclusion in their report which was published on April 7th, 2020. 

The baseline findings from these checks is that the End-to-End encryption and Secret message features of the WhatsApp and Facebook Application does not allow for such intrusions on person to person messaging.

What is end-to-encryption?

End-to-end encryption is applying encryption (the act of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access) to messages on a device so that the only device that can decrypt it is the one it is sent to.

Is end-to-end encryption full proof for privacy protection?

Although it restricts transmitted data from anyone but the receiver of the message, it still has some limitations. It is possible for a third-party to know that a message was sent between the people involved, and if access is gained to the device, the content can also be read. 


According to WhatApp,

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is used when you message another person using WhatsApp Messenger. End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.” 

The End-to-end encryption on WhatsApp  safeguards users’ privacy with regards to sending and receiving messages. 


In 2016, Facebook added another security feature which offers encryption enhancement in its Messenger application. The feature is called the “secret conversation”. This feature has to be activated by users as it is not a default setting like in the WhatsApp application. Messages are end-to-end encrypted with this feature as well.

Has the government of Ghana announced a regulation of platforms?

The Ghanaian government has not made an announcement to regulate phone calls through monitoring or recording and neither has the same been indicated for social media platforms. The Ministry of Communications has, however, passed the Cybersecurity Act to promote and regulate cybersecurity activities. 

“The Law establishes the Cyber Security Authority, protects the critical information infrastructure of the country, regulates cybersecurity activities, provides for the protection of children on the internet and develops Ghana’s cybersecurity ecosystem.”


It is clear that the message being circulated in Ghana via WhatsApp did not originate locally and has made its rounds across countries before getting here. It has nothing to do with Ghana.

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